Choice of Nikon micro lens on DX format

I use a Nikon D7000. I have become interested in focus stacking, and to a lesser extent, HDR. The subject matter that interests me is flowers and mushrooms, so I have rationalised to myself that I should have a suitable lens. A bit of research uncovers the (newish) AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm F3.5G ED VR, which is DX specific (is this good?) but I also quite like the AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G, a little cheaper, as well. Then there is the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED – but that is FX format, translating to some 130mm focal length for me. But more worrying – will that affect the resolution?
Any and all advice appreciated.

Hi Pieter. I’m a Canon shooter, so I’m not familiar with these specific lenses, but in general I tend to favor lenses designed for full frame cameras because they work just as well for crop sensor cameras and the reverse is not always true (at least in the Canon line). As far as focal length goes, my preference would be for the 105 mm, because it gives more working room. Particularly with the 40 mm, you would have to be very close to small subjects to get them to fill the frame. That isn’t too bad for mushrooms and flowers, but if you ever wanted to do insects, it might start getting difficult.

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Thank you Dennis. That is what I suspected as well. With the full frame lens, I will also always have the choice to move to FX.

I have a D7100. At one time I looked at micro lenses and after reading reviews, I figured the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED would be the best of the ones I looked at. The Nikkor FX lenses appear to be better corrected for field curvature and chromatic aberration.

I have a Nikkor 70-200 f4 that I use on my 7100. It works great, so I don see any issues with using an FX lens on your 7000.

I finally decided to go with zoom lenses, since I do mostly small scenes and landscapes, so I never purchased the micro Nikkor.

Thank you, Preston. I also use FX lenses (mostly old) on my D7000, sometimes with spectacularly good results. But I am not so well up on the latest stuff, and everything has become so specialised and technical, so I am on an overabundance of caution.

The nice thing about using full frame lenses on a Dx sensor system is that the sweet spot of the Fx lens occupies most of the sensor. All lenses are slightly softer on their outer edges versus the center. For example some crop sensor Pentax users employ adapters to use a 645 lens on their crop sensor dslr which results in optimal sharpness from corner to corner. Buy a used 200mm f4 Nikkor macro–outstanding glass, excellent working distance, and a tripod collar as well. I have the 105mm and do not care for the short working distance. …Jim

I’m shooting a 7200 with the same reactions and results using the AF 105. For me the biggest differences are working distance and non-macro applications (It’s a terrific portrait lens). Perhaps I’m too accustomed to the old manual focus 105 and 200 and film, but the “compromise” in working distance at an effective 135 or so has proven ideal for my needs and shooting habits.

I’m currently illustrating a book (tabletop shooting, studio lights), and it would kill the project to have to work close with the 40. I have to confess that the AF 105 is even sharper than the old manual focus original, something I never thought I’d say.

One final thought: Will you always be shooting DX, or might there be an FX body someday in your future? It would be a shame to have to replace a DX lens at that point.

Thank you, Jim. Confirming some of my thinking.

Hank, thank you… You raise some interesting points. It is possible that I may think about a FX format at some future date, although considering my advanced age that point may be beyond my reasonable planning horizon!

I can relate a little too well! I’m not quite so far down the road as a pair of 95 YOA buds and another that turns 100 YOA in February, but I love their favorite saying: “I’m so old that I don’t buy green bananas!” :rofl:

“I’m so old that I don’t buy green bananas!”

That’s funny!

One thing you’ll find with that 105mm (135mm) focal length: At 1:1 you’re back far enough that you don’t shadow your subject, or frighten it in the case of skittery critters. In my table top work the subject is within arms length for adjustments without having to get out from behind the camera. That saves a whole lot of standing and sitting, and especially tripod tripping. I sorely miss our belated camera stands, but not so much with the 105.

Good point, thanks Hank!

The Nikon 105 is a very good micro lens choice.

However, my preferred macro lens and you may want to consider is the 1997-2004 Nikon 70-180mm f4.5-5.6 D Micro. This lens is very handy for macro due to its unique ability to zoom without changing focus. Additionally, this lens is on still on the top of the list for creating product photography images. There are a lot of good reviews out on google, even Ken Rockwell

Wow, that one slipped right by me and it would sure be handy right now. Much thought required, but thanks!

Yes, this lens if often overlooked. Not sure why. However, I was turned onto it a few years ago by my MLP | Nikon ambassador | mentor. He still uses it to this day for his product work.

All my product work is shot with this lens, as well as most of my macro stuff.

I do mainly flowers for my macro work and use the following 3 lenses;
60 mm 2.8 micro Nikon
105 mm Nikon
300 mm f4 Nikon

Each has merit. The 60 mm is light, relatively inexpensive and yields incredible close up detail. With a DX , it will have you at about 90. It was my main lens when I shot DX. Its also a great portrait lens and a nice walk around lens if you do street work.

The 105 is a nice length and has super bokeh. It is heavier though and will set you back more in $. It does allow me to stand back further and get out of my shadow. Sometimes in public gardens it’s a must. Probably too long to double as a portrait lens on a DX .

The 300 mm f4 is a beauty of a lens that is wonderful for flowers . I generally use it on my FX though on occasion I have used it on my DX for flowers when I feel the situation demands it. I got it for birding, though, and would not recommend getting it for a sole macro lens.

In your situation, I would go with one of the first two. Since you say you are interested in flowers and mushrooms and don’t mention critters, you might take a look at the 60 mm on that DX. I have had mine for 30+ years and still use it. The begonia I just posted was taken with the 60 mm. It’s a fine piece of light weight glass

Thank you so much! I see there are a few available “as new” on Amazon at very reasonable prices.

Thank you! Very useful information. I do also shoot birds, so the 300 mm F4 should definitely be considered!

Hi Peter

Just wanted to say that the 300 with DX would be very limited in flower situations. They have to be pretty far away , but can be spectacular when you find the right situation.